Thursday, July 29, 2010

Extreme Habits That Lead To Death

Junk food addict Sharon Mevsimler, 40, needed an oxygen mask due to the strain her weight put on her heart and lungs.

Aged 6 and 14 ... Sharon was a normal-sized little girl and a slim and pretty teenager

Aged 18 and 28 ... enjoying sunshine on holiday in Cyprus but as a young mum she was putting on weight

Aged 32 ... by now Sharon is seriously obese. All Photos: Internet.

The 5 feet tall Sharon Mevsimler was slim with glossy hair and rosy cheeks on her wedding day.

She was just like any twenty-something when she got married to boyfriend Tyler but no thanks to the severe post-natal depression she suffered.
After giving birth to her 4 children, post-natal depression sets in and Mevsimler sought solace in food during her depressed moments.

She turned to comfort eating and it soon balloned her weight. She blamed her weight gain on comfort eating as her weight peaked at a massive 285kg.
The habit eventually took a toll on her health.
The Sun newspaper reported the 40-year old mother as the Britain's fattest woman, who spent the last 4 years lying in the hospital bed because she was too big to walk.

It was revealed earlier this month that Mrs Mevsimler's husband had to give up his job to look after his wife fulltime.

Mrs Mevsimler said in 2007 that she had "been left to die".
If she was anorexic, she would get proper help but no one has sympathy for obese people.

She was relying on an oxygen mask to help her to breathe because of the pressure put on her heart and lungs. She had repeatedly asked for a life saving band operation.
Mevsimler was upset to find out that her size and weight had prevented her from getting any life-saving operations.
Sources from National Health Service claimed they have not given up on Mevsimler, as she has been lined up for a £30,000 gastric by-pass operation.

The mother of 4 died last Saturday from heart attack in hospital. .
Doctors made a grave prediction then that she had only months to live.

Before the death, she reportedly asked family members to smuggle junk food into her hospital room.
She had buckets of chicken and fish-and-chips, despite being put on a strict diet by doctors.

Her hospital bed which is a specially strengthened hospital bed collapsed as she was being wheeled to the mortuary.


A "size zero" Taiwanese woman died after falling into a coma after a slimming programme that went fatally wrong.

"Size zero" is often used to refer to extremely thin individuals, especially women.
The 34-year-old woman, surnamed Lin, was 1.66m tall.

According to China Times, she was unhappy with her weight of 60kg.
She underwent a slimming programme and started taking slimming pills about 4 years ago beside taking laxatives after every meal.

She later suffered from anorexia nervosa (lack of desire to eat) and once weighed only 24kg.
Her health deteriorated so much and she could not go to work.

Her mother said Lin had refused to listen to her advice to stop taking pills and complained of not feeling well at 2pm on Wednesday May 5, but refused to go to the hospital.
Then, the mother left home to run some errands and found the daughter dead when she returned home some two hours later.
She hoped her daughter's slimming case and death would raise the alarm to those who are concerned too much about their looks.

Lin, who had been discharged from hospital early this year, fell into a coma at home and died of multiple organ failure. She even took slimming pills when she was warded at the hospital.

The extremely thin size zero woman only weighed 31kg when she died on Wednesday 5th of May, 2010.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Paranormal Sighting In Learning Institutions With The Star

Does accounts of supernatural activities in schools are very much alive and well in this modern day and age?

Does sightings of apparitions and unexplained occurences are popular shared topics of conversations for current and former students of their eerie experiences?

About 3 months ago, StarEducation sent a callout asking students to write in their personal accounts of mysterious happenings in their schools or universities.

Based on The Sunday Star report on May 9, students walked down their journey doing their rounds in the local learning institutions looking at the creepy tales.

Colonial era schools such as this one in Kuala Lumpur tend to have more than their fair share of creepy stories.

Historic haunts
Invented or real histories of schools are a common starting ground for terrifying tales.

At the more historic schools around the country, it would seem that some of the troops who arrived in Malaya during the Japanese Occupation of the early 1940s have never left.
Tales of schools being former Japanese torture camps are a particularly popular explanation for apparitions of headless corpses and sounds of marching soldiers in the dead of night.

Perhaps the strangest tale in circulation at the moment are sightings of beheaded nuns in a well-known girls’ school in Kuala Lumpur.


While the school canteen may be the focal point for students during recess, it can at other times, turn out to be an eerie place where one can hear mysterious sounds and witness strange happenings.

 Although the brutalities committed during that era cannot be denied, conclusive proof of all the exact spots where the Kempeitai (Japanese secret police) murdered their victims is hard to find.

Consultant Mavindren Naidu however, believes that his former school in Ipoh is a hotbed of paranormal activity.
“From 1943 till the end of the war, the Japanese government did have their headquarters in Perak.
“It’s not surprising then if some of the locations in my school were previously used as execution spots by the army,” he says.

Mavindren claims that his former schoolmates have seen silhouettes of bodies hanging from trees, and screams echoing down empty hallways.
“I’ve experienced the screams myself once, while waiting for my father to pick me up after co-curricular activities.

“Maybe it was a classmate pulling my leg, but there were no other students around and it didn’t sound human...” he says.


Many a student will swear to spirits lurking in empty classrooms.

Declaring himself to be a sceptic, Tan Seng Hong says a misunderstanding of history can easily cause rumours to spread.
“Some say that my school was a prison, or that it was built on an ancient tribal burial ground,” says the secondary school student.

“But my school is fairly new, and this area has always been a commercial one! Of course, if I believed the stories to be true, I too would feel scared or see things that aren’t really there.”

Permanent residents
As they tend to be located in isolated surroundings, boarding schools are rife with supernatural anecdotes.

One of the most infamous yarns is that of the boy who wakes up in the middle of the night at his dormitory room.

Upon seeing dark shadows hovering along the beds of his fellow students, the boy pulls up his covers and pretends to be asleep.


The abandoned Shih Chung school in Penang is supposedly haunted and the abode of different types of ghosts.

The terrified boy then hears a disembodied voice singing: “The rest are asleep, but one is awake.”

Civil servant Shazliza Ramli thinks that such tales are a way of keeping students in check.
“You can be sure that once a student hears a story like that, he is bound to keep to his bedtime,” she laughs.

Shazliza adds that another common “happening” at her former residential school in Kelantan is the doppelganger effect.
“One story I can account for is when a friend of mine had to go home for the weekend due to an injury. 

"But the night warden claimed to have seen my friend wandering around the corridors late at night, and thought she was rude for not answering the warden’s calls."


Sightings of apparitions are often spotted along empty corridors and at disrepaired stairwells in schools.
“Upon learning the truth, the warden subesequently refused to do the night shift again; but I think it was an effective caution for the girls, because after that, none of us loittered around at night!” she says.

Residential school student Azfar Masom meanwhile, thinks that his seniors just take sadistic pleasure in scaring the wits out of younger students.
“This is especially true when we have overnight leadership-building or camping events,” says Azfar.

“The students would do things like sneaking up on unsuspecting individuals who dared venture out to answer the call of nature.

“The teachers have more subtle techniques — when doing the head count at the end of the day, they would add an extra person to make it look like we had an unexpected ‘guest’ sharing our tent for the night.”

Tertiary terror
At higher education institutions that are built around dense jungle areas, the old wives’ tale goes that empty buses were sent from the proposed site to the middle of nowhere.

It is said that this was so that bus drivers could transport unwanted spirits to their new “home”, away from the university.
While the sprawling campuses of some local universities appear spacious in broad daylight, taking a nightly stroll in them can be an unnerving experience for even the bravest of souls.

Economics student Sandra Ooi claims that sightings of a lone woman in white are common at her campus in Selangor.
“When my boyfriend came to pick me up one night, he said he saw a girl dressed in white in the distance.

“Thinking it was a student looking for a lift, he slowed down his car — but as he got closer, she disappeared.

“Several of my male classmates have seen this girl while walking back to their dorms,” she says.

In similar vein, Wong Li Ping is certain that she has personally experienced the urban legend of her former private higher education institution in the Klang Valley.
“I saw a person standing on one of the balconies of the hostel block facing mine,” says the sales executive.

“Suddenly the figure leapt down; I thought I had just witnessed a suicide.

“I immediately started to dial the emergency number, but when I glanced up again, I saw the figure standing there as before.”
Li Peng adds that the scene repeated twice, before the figure completely vanished.

Although there is no concrete validity to the relations above, they do reflect the Malaysian appetite for the supernatural.

As Priya Kulasagaran conclude in this writing, "Whether you are a believer or not, the very least these stories do is plant a small seed of doubt when walking down a lonely corridor."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Maid Story - Of Evil And Angel Hearted

Maids In Singapore (4)

The Evil


During the 6-day trial that started in April, widow  Madam Mah told the court how for over a year, she would doze off within minutes of having a meal. 

She also found it difficult to wake up at her usual time of 6am.

She lived with her maid in a house in Paya Lebar Crescent.


26-year old Windri Hartatik (Photo: Singapore Police Force) was jailed a year on Monday. 

Windri was found guilty by District Judge Lim Wee Ming of administering the stupefying drug to 79 year old Madam Mah Ah Choo, in December 2009. 

She laced a soup with 10 sleeping pills so that her employer would fall asleep and not find fault with her work.


While Windri would help herself to the fish and vegetable dishes, she would give the soup a miss on some occasions. 

On Dec 9, Madam Mah had taken a pork rib soup prepared by her maid. 

The retiree did not suspect anything. 


However, the next morning, she suffered a bout of giddiness and nearly collapsed at a supermarket. 

She had to be helped by staff and returned home with the maid in a taxi. 

After resting, Madam Mah confronted Windri, who admitted to adding 'medicine' to the soup, to make Madam Mah sleep more and stop her from inspecting and finding fault with the maid's work. 


The widow went to the Serangoon neighbourhood police centre to complain that her maid was poisoning her on Dec 22. 


Sergeant Norhafizah Kamaludin, 26, then interviewed Windri, who alleged that a neighbour had given her a pack of white-coloured pills that would make Madam Mah "slow down" and not nag and complain so much. 

The Indonesian maid had told a police officer she fed "medicine" to her 79-year-old employer to make her less troublesome. 

The maid, who had worked for Madam Mah for 2 years also said she got rid of the remaining pills when police were informed. 


In her separate police statement to investigating officer Ong Xiqing, Windri changed her story and said that she had brought the pills from Indonesia and had taken them when she had difficulty sleeping. 


Deputy Public Prosecutor Bhajanvir Singh asked the court not to show leniency to the Indonesian because employers and their family members need to be protected from violent maids. 

He said that Windri had abused the trust placed in her by her employer and had poisoned an elderly and very vulnerable victim.




The Angel 


Almost one third of the space in Ms Puji's bedroom was filled with her employers' children's toys. 

It shows the so much love she has for them. 


Her attachment to the children was evident - The children will always go to her room to play. 


Her employers were not the only ones Ms Puji left a deep impression on. 

Mr Samuel Lam, 36, a technical account director said:  

"When we got this maid in September 2008, we thought we were lucky to have her." 


A neighbour's 10-year-old son, Abdullah, said Ms Puji was very nice. 

She's very friendly, and would say 'hi' to him whenever she saw him.


Because of the abundance of her love towards the 2 children, she was even willing to lay her life down for the girls.


On Saturday night 24th April 2010, Indonesian maid Puji Astutik died proving her love - and saved her boss' one-year-old. 


Ms Puji, 28, was crossing the road with her employer, Mrs Lam's younger daughter, when an SMRT bendy bus ran into her at the junction of Choa Chu Kang Street 52 and Choa Chu Kang North 6 at around 7.30pm. 


She flung the baby girl forward but she herself, was pinned under the wheels. 


Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it took 11 minutes for them to extricate Ms Puji from underneath the bus using one 10-tonne jack with multiple injuries. 

She was conveyed to National University Hospital as was reported by The New Paper and Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao. 


She died later that night from her injuries. 

The Lams' daughter suffered minor scratches on her left arm and kept shivering that night. 


Both children were very attached to the maid. 

The elder girl asked her parents:  

"The bus hit Kaka, Kaka (sister) where?"


After witnessing the accident, both could not stop crying for a long time. 

After they stopped, both went into a daze and kept silent. 


Just 2 days before the incident, Ms Puji, 28, had pleaded with her mother in Indonesia to let her stay in Singapore after her contract expired. 


She loved her employer's two young daughters, aged 1 and 2, too much to leave.

Mr and Mrs Lam (above), Photo: TNP, intended to renew the maid's contract when it expired in September.


Ms Puji had S$3,221 in savings, which her employers had taken to the maid agency to be sent to her family.


Mr Eric Lim (above), director of Jack Focus Employment, who brought Ms Puji to Singapore, with her belongings that was sent home with her body.

He planned to raise S$10,000 for the maid's family, and hand the amount to the Indonesian embassy, which will then pass it to the family.

"It's such a pity. She (Ms Puji) worked so hard, she had aspirations, but just like that, she's said goodbye," said Mr Eric Lim.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Gallow Man's Story Of Fandey, Not Mona

esavan A. Arumugam, despite his humble and polite demeanour, is a man who can strike fear as he was an executioner who spent the first month of his working career on attachment in Pudu Prison.

He remembers the demolished Pudu Prison and could recall the place as it was there, he both witnessed and carried out his first execution. He had performed 4 executions in Pudu before the department started to carry out the sentence in Kajang Prison.

According to The Star, his task was to handcuff the prisoner, place a hood over him, escort the condemned from their cell to the execution chamber, where their legs would be tied and the noose placed over their neck.
Basically, he did everything except pulling the lever to release the trap door.

There was a team involved, and pulling the lever was another man's job.
The gallows in Pudu Prison were very old as the trapdoor worked with a pulley system and the creaking made it all seem unreal and scary.

The hangings at Pudu Prison, as  Kesavan A. Arumugam remembers, were eerie affairs. “The corridors were narrow and the lighting was dim, adding to the eeriness of the execution. There was a chill about the place.”

The execution chamber at the new Kajang prison is much brighter, works on a hydraulic system which is quieter and more efficient.

Kesavan has no regrets about carrying out the job of taking a human life. He believes what he did is for the benefit of the nation as those people who were executed had already exhausted all avenues of law, and he only did the final bit.
Since he was able to interact with the prisoners, he learnt what they had done and he did not feel bad.

Yes, the career is not for the faint hearted, as he does feel tense after each execution carried out.
Usually he would avoid people for a few days , and an adjustment of the mind was needed for him to feel better.


He has his own scary tale to tell, involving Mohd Affandi Abdul Rahman, who, along with his famous witch craft bomoh wife Mona Fandey, had been sentenced to death for the murder of Batu Talam state assemblyman Datuk Mazlan Idris.

Affandi, he says, had asked him to bring him a rose bud.

When eventually he did bring the rose bud, Affandi put it on his palm and recited a few words. And the rosebud flew round and round - He knew it is unbelievable but he saw it.

Then, Affandi asked for a bottle of water, tore the rosebud into bits, put it in the bottle and gave it to him as a magic potion.

“However, I did not want anything to do with that. And I left the bottle at the officer’s area,” he says.


Who is Mona Fandey?

Mona Fandey : Wikipedia

Maznah Ismail, born in 1956, as a pop singer, although it was only short-lived.
It was during this time she adopted the stage name "Mona Fandey" to boost her popularity.

Her career did not really take off, but she still managed to come up with one self-sponsored album entitled Diana and made a few television appearances. She was also a water ballet dancer during her youth.

Mona Fandey became more popular after the murder case of Batu Talam state assemblyman than she had been when she was still a pop singer. She was executed on November 2, 2001 at the age of 45, after being convicted of the murder of a politician, Datuk Mazlan Idris, in 1993.

After leaving the music business, she became involved in spiritual witchcraft activities and was known to be a bomoh, a local shaman, and began offering her services to clients, mostly from the upper-class society. She claimed to have provided politician clients with a variety of charms and talismans.

It was reported that Datuk Mazlan Idris, a state assemblyman for the constituency of Batu Talam, Pahang, wanted to boost his political career and sought the services of Mona for assistance.
The US educated Mazlan was an ambitious politician from the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party.

At that time, Mona worked with her husband Mohamad Nor Affandi Abdul Rahman, 44, and their assistant Juraimi Hassan, 31.
Mona and her husband promised to help Mazlan by giving him a talisman consisting of a cane and sbatmi headgear, which was supposedly owned by former Indonesian President Sukarno. The politician would be "invincible" if he held the talisman in return of RM2.5 million.
The couple was paid RM500,000 as deposit, and 10 land titles as surety for the remaining RM2 million by Mazlan.

Mazlan was reported missing on July 2, 1993 after withdrawing RM300,000 from a bank.

An appointment was soon made for cleansing rituals to be performed at Mona's house.
Mazlan was told to lie on the floor face up while Mona placed flowers on him. She then told Mazlan to close his eyes and wait for the money to "fall from the sky".

Juraimi, then using an axe, chopped Mazlan's head off. They also dismembered and partially skinned Mazlan's body. His body was found in 18 parts buried in a storeroom near Mona's house in Pahang.
It was alleged that the murder occurred between 10pm and 12 midnight on July 18, 1993.

After the murder, Mona was reported to have been on a shopping spree where she bought a Mercedes-Benz and had a facelift.

On July 22, 1993, police found Mazlan's body.
Mona, her husband, and Juraimi were arrested and a highly publicized trial began. They were tried in Temerloh High Court in Pahang by a 7-person jury (trial by jury was abolished from January 1, 1995).

Throughout the trial, Mona exhibited strange behaviour, appearing cheerful, constantly smiling and posing for press photographers. She dressed extravagantly with bright and colorful designs on her dress and remarked, "looks like I have many fans".
The High Court found all 3 of them guilty and sentenced them to death by hanging.

Mona and the others filed appeals to the Federal Court and in 1999 the court dismissed their appeals and upheld the death sentence.

Finally, the 3 convicts sought to obtain a pardon or clemency from the Pardons Board of Pahang, their final chance redemption. However, the board refused to give clemency.

Mona, Affandy, and Juraimi were finally hanged on November 2, 2001 at Kajang Prison. It was also reported that during Mona's execution, she uttered the words "aku takkan mati", or "I will never die", still calm and smiling.
There was wide local and even international media coverage and plenty of public interest.

Anti-death penalty movements including Amnesty International voiced their opposition to the execution of the trio.

Will the  politician's nephew  work with the movement?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Silencers

A 90-Year Old Killed 89-Year Old Wife With Hammer.

John Bunz, seated in a wheelchair in state Supreme Court in Buffalo, America, admitted on Wednesday that he and his wife had been arguing and he took a hammer to her.

He beat his wife to death on March 21 in the retirement village apartment they shared in the Buffalo suburb of Amherst, with a hammer during an argument.

He offered no explanation as to why he struck her.

John Bunz pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter as part of a plea bargain
John Bunz pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter as part of a plea bargain

Judge Russell Buscaglia asked him if he hit his wife 30 times, as prosecutor Paul Bonanno said.
"Possibly, yes," responded the gravelly voiced Bunz.

The judge had to speak loudly into his microphone as it appeared Bunz could not hear. 
John pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter as part of a plea bargain.

Prosecutors agreed to the plea because of his age but would still recommend a sentence of around 20 years because of the violence involved in Virginia Bunz's death, Bonanno said.
The charge carries a range of 5 to 25 years.

The couple's adult son and daughter approved the plea agreement although neither was in court.

89-year-old Virginia and 90-year old John had been married for nearly 68 years.

John, who gave his birth date as Nov. 25, 1919, is a retired chemist and technician for Niagara Mohawk Power Corp.

He and Virginia Bunz had celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on April 4, 2007, according to The Buffalo News.


An 82-Year Old Slashes 83-Year Old Wife With Chopper 


The suspect, who walks with a walking stick, is being taken to the police station (Photo: Sing Pao)
The suspect, who walks with a walking stick, is being taken to the police station (Photo: Sing Pao)

An 82-year-old man, ran to a nearby house, telling his neighbour that a family member had committed suicide.

He requested for the neighbour to call the police and went back home.

Meanwhile, the 83-year old 'family member', injured on the head and hands, called her son for help.home.
The injured wife is being sent to the hospital (Photo: Sing Pao)
The injured wife is being sent to the hospital (Photo: Sing Pao)

The woman was sent to the hospital for treatment.

The man could not tolerate his grumbling wife and repeatedly asked her to stay at the old folks home.

He could no longer stand his grumbling wife that he attacked her with a chopper at their home in Hong Kong.

Neighbours also said the couple constantly quarreled over minor issues.
On Tuesday, they had an argument again.

The octogenarian rushed to the kitchen, grabbed a chopper and attacked his wife.


Monday, July 12, 2010

The Reluctant Organs Have Their Final Say

The Star: July 12, 2010 - Tainted Organ Transplants


SUBANG JAYA: Some Malaysians who went abroad for organ transplants have returned home with HIV, hepatitis and other problems, a World Health Organisation (WHO) adviser said. “It is time to amend laws and establish a full-time agency to have more and ethical organ donations in the country,” said Prof Dr Francis Delmonico, calling on legislators to push for laws against organ trafficking and transplant tourism in Malaysia.
He also suggested that the authorities look into the possibility of organ donation for cases of cardiac death and not only in brain dead cases.
“There are many cases of Malaysians going abroad for organ transplants.
“There is no guarantee of the quality of organs. In many cases, the patients returned with HIV, hepatitis and other problems,’’ said Dr Delmonico, a WHO adviser on human organ transplantation.
He was speaking at a forum on “Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism – The Need for Regulatory and Legislative Control” at the 13th Scientific Meeting of the Malaysian Society of Transplantation at the Grand Dorsett Hotel here on Friday night.
Dr Delmonico said the commercialisation of organs go against the Istanbul Declaration, which proclaims that the poor who sell their organs are being exploited.
The declaration, signed by participants of an international summit on transplant tourism and organ trafficking in 2008, concluded that organ trafficking and transplant tourism violate respect for human dignity and the principles of equity and justice and should be prohibited.
Health Ministry head of nephrology services Dr Ghazali Ahmad, in his talk on “Hurdles of Living Unrelated Organ Donation” said that in 2009, 17 kidney failure patients received transplant from dead donors and nine from live donors.
In 2008, there were 53 from deceased donors and one from a live donor. In 2007, it was 45 from deceased donors and three from live donors.
The statistics were gathered after patients returned home from abroad to seek post-transplant treatment.
Kidney transplants made available from deceased donors were believed to be organs from executed prisoners in China.


The Straits Times: June 7, 2010 - Black Organ Market Rakes On Poverty And Hope

Organ trafficking middleman Liu Qiangshen sits in the court showing his side scar left after a liver transplantation operation. (photo by Beijing Morning Post)
Organ trafficking middleman Liu Qiangshen sits in the court showing his side scar left after a liver transplantation operation. (photo by Beijing Morning Post)
Barely coming of age and lacking money, 19-year-old Yang Nian sold almost two thirds of his liver, for which a Beijing patient in urgent need of organ transplant paid 150,000 yuan (S$21,900).

But the money only ended up in the hands of organ trafficking middleman Liu Qiangsheng, who assembled a score of hatchet men to beat up a scarred Yang when he came to claim his liver fees. Yang got a mingy 25,000 yuan (S$3,660), not the promised dole of 35,000 yuan (S$5,130), the Beijing Morning Post reported Thursday.

The stomach-turning report details Yang's wait for a suitable buyer in a slum along with other reluctant donors in central Hebei province as well as his physical checkup and identity forgery in order to pass for a legal organ supplier for the Beijing patient

The Beijing patient, at first unwitting of Yang's pathetic compensation, was also threatened by the middleman if he dared refuse further payment out of previous bargain.

"We only learned later that the middleman Liu just gave Yang that little, we are very angry, but we are also very scared and could do nothing," said the patient's wife. The couple paid a huge sum to the middleman, only with borrowed money.

The case, still under investigation, shed light on a rampant organ trafficking market reigned by unscrupulous middlemen, intertwined with hospitals sometimes, who rake in the organ donation dearth in China where for every 150 patients in the waiting line of organ transplant there is only one legal donor.

The black organ market is so organized that it runs like an assembly line.

The middlemen draw together a group of illegal donors, mostly male, offering food and board before ushering them through a series of medical examinations to kick out the unhealthy and the unprofitable, like those with AB blood, accounting only 5 percent of the general population.

The middlemen even help to bribe doctors and secure a better hospital, not to mention the cheap identity fabrication as in Yang's case, since organ donation by a living individual should be among relatives in China.

While, for the most part of the job, it is waiting, sometimes endlessly, for a suitable buyer. That's why most middlemen choose to foster a large donator group, increasing the chance of medical matches, and larger profits.

In Thursday's news report, a middleman in eastern Jiangsu, surnamed Wang, bragged how he fostered 190 underground donors in the past two years and successfully channeled over 30 transplant cases. Another in northeastern Shenyang assured that he could secure an organ donation in three days, and could even offer an extra donor as a backup.

So far the only organ donation regulation in China is a toothless bylaw which forbids, rather than criminalizes, organ trafficking as illegal business operations. Legal specialists said the punishment doesn't fit the crime.



The Star: June 7, 2010  - China's Grisly Human Organs Market

China's human organs trade is grisly but lucrative
China's human organs trade is grisly but lucrative

China's black market for human organs is booming.

Nearly 1.5 million people require organ transplants every year but according to the Health Ministry, only ten thousand can get what they need.

China banned organ transplants from living donours in 2007 (with the exception of spouses, blood relatives or adopted family members) and it was not until last year that a national campaign to coordinate donations after death was launched.

A defendant charged with trafficking human organs testified recently that half a liver can cost up to RM21,980.95, while an entire transplant, which includes operation and recovery costs, runs at about RM66,710.00.

"The crime can damage society and moral values," says the Procuratorial Daily.
"I believe I was helping people, not harming others. I saved the life of the person who received my liver. He was only in his 30s. I do not regret it," says defendant, Liu Qiangsheng.

Human organ traffickers have helped raise the percentage of transplants from living donors in China up to 40 percent in the last few years.

This number is up from 15 percent in 2006. Despite this, two-thirds of all organs harvested for transplant in China come from executed criminals.
"Executed prisoners are definitely not a proper source for organ transplants," said Vice Minister Huang Jiefu.
China is trying to move away from the use of executed prisoners and curb illegal trafficking by developing new sources for organ transplants.

A voluntary donation scheme is in the works, but may prove very difficult to implement due to China’s cultural bias against removing organs after death.
While change is in the works, organ trafficking remains a dark and grisly aspect of black market operations.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Forced Into It

Saturday July 10, 2010 - Student Beaten Up For Wanting To Leave Gang 

JOHOR BARU: A 17-year-old boy paid a hefty price to get out of a gang - he was abducted outside his school and beaten up by 30 gang members.
Lim Bing Li, a Form 5 student of Foon Yew High School in Stulang Laut here, was abducted at about 6pm on Friday by 30 men who came in five cars.
They took Lim to a secluded area in Senibong, Permas Jaya, where the gang leader beat him with a fishing rod and wooden sticks, while the rest of the gang members surrounded him.
Lim, who suffered a head injury that required 12 stitches and bruises on his arms, face and back, was left there bleeding.
A motorcyclist who saw him took him to a nearby clinic for treatment and later helped him lodge a report at the Permas Jaya police station.
After that Lim was taken to the Sultanah Aminah Hospital for further check-up by his father.
At the hospital Lim said he had joined the gang, which was involved in illegal gambling, last year and wanted to get out.
He added that being beaten up was part of the initiation for any member wanting to leave.
Johor Baru (South) OCPD Asst Comm Zainuddin Yaakob urged anyone with information to contact the police hotline at 07-2212999 or the nearest police station.


That is what appeared in today's Star.

I remembere there was once, a mother came to me apologising for her daughter's long absent from class.

Seeing her red eyes, I had to be careful with my choice of words, and lost all of it - speechless.
I just hold her hands very tightly, and... she burst out.

The tense situation took quite a while before she felt composed.

Her 15 year-old son had not been coming back home regularly and it became a great worry for both parents.

Knowing he is a well-behaved, obedient and studious student mixing with only good company, blending himself with secret society is never in the parents' dream, but that's what he was in.

Seeing the boy being naive, he was approached and befriended by one of the gang member, about his age. They were soon to become best friend and great buddies by drinking each other's blood.

Both parents only knew of their son's involvement in the triad activities after a call from his teacher enquiring of his long absent from school.
The parents and the boy were called into the principal room to discuss matters.
Police was called too and the boy promised to turn over a new leaf.

Police was on a lookout outside the school compound to question his buddy but he no longer appear to be with him after school.

Hopefully, it was all over with the buddy absent from school. But, it makes matter worst.

The son would go out any time of the day and night, unpredictable of when he will be coming back.
When asked where did he sleep when he was not sleeping at home, his reply was, he slept at the void deck of any block of flat which he was not even sure of the number or the street address.
He was getting zombier each passing day, missing his school and not remembering his family.

The father, whenever getting the information of the son still not home at night, would then, straight from his working place, do his own search, at any blocks of flat which his legs brought him, sometime until the wee hours, or till the next morning. His search was island wide.

The son had went counselling, yet matters were worsening for him.

Only with traditional and spiritual consultations, was it made known that his spirit and soul had been charmed and trapped by the triad which he was involved.
That's the reason for the boy always in daze and unaware of his doings.

Upon checking, he had a 'small figurine' in his schoolbag, which he was not even sure what it was or who had put it there...   

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Heart-Aching 'Dear And Dearest'

WHEN it comes to fish, it pays to know your soon hock from your sultan. Wild-caught species of the latter are exceedingly rare, and can cost more than S$300 (US$214) per kg at restaurants here.
Now, a debate is brewing about whether customers should be told upfront if an item they order comes with a price tag that is off the charts.
It was sparked by the case of a customer who wanted to be known only as Mr Liu, who went to the Feng Shui Inn restaurant at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) with four friends from Hong Kong on June 12.
Mr Liu originally wanted to order a soon hock or Marble Goby dish, but when told that the restaurant had run out of it, he went with a waiter's recommendation and ordered sultan fish instead.
He told the Chinese evening newspaper Lianhe Wanbao that the waiter did not tell him the price of the fish, but he assumed it would be about the same price as soon hock, which costs about S$90 (US$64) per kg. But Mr Liu said he and his friends got a shock when they received a bill for S$1,224 (US$874) for the 1.8kg fish.
He complained and received a 15% discount. But his main grouse was that the waiter didn't let him know the price of the sultan when he recommended it.
When contacted, RWS spokesman Robin Goh explained that Feng Shui Inn serves a very premium clientele. He said: 'It is not always appropriate to state menu prices to high-end customers who have come to expect certain discretion, especially when they entertain high-level guests. This is a practice shared by most high-end restaurants.'


It's Dearest In Malaysia, reported The Star

July 3, 2010 - RM436,000 (US$136,590) Shocker For Sales Manager


KLANG: Sales manager P.J. Alvin from Taman Sri Andalas near here was shocked when he received his June electric bill and saw that he owed Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) RM436,808.03 (US$136,844).

Alvin, 25, lives in a double-storey terrace house that uses three air-conditioning units and has the usual electrical appliances.
“I live with my parents and a sister. There are only four of us in the house. How can we use so much electricity?” he asked, saying that his average monthly electricity bill was RM400 (US$102).

Seeking an answer: Alvin showing his June bill at his Taman Sri Andalas house in Klang Friday.
Alvin believed that TNB had made an error as it was impossible for his family to use that much of electricity in a month.
“Yesterday, I went to TNB’s Jalan Meru office to get an explanation but the staff at the counter was rude and scolded me,” he claimed.
Alvin also claimed that his 51-year-old father suffered a migraine for three days and had to be admitted to a private hospital after learning about the exorbitant electricity bill.
“I want TNB to investigate this matter. I also want an explanation as to how this happened,” he said.
Selangor TNB general manager Abdullah Abdul Basir Abdul Ghani said checks showed that Alvin had overpaid by RM4,174 and the amount would be refunded.
“On the RM436,808 bill, it will be checked. If it was due to a technical error, it will be rectified on Monday. We also would like to apologise for the conduct of our counter staff,” he said.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

When All Pockets Went Dry

Chief executive, Mr Piyush Gupta said: 'We are sorry for what happened. We took numerous measures to minimise inconvenience caused by the temporary disruption in services.
'We have commenced a full scale investigation and I am treating this matter with utmost priority.'
Mr Gupta's comments come after Monday's massive network failure that knocked out more than 1,000 ATMs.
Irate customers could not access the bank's internet and mobile banking facilities, while payments made on DBS debit and credit cards could not be processed.
To cope with the situation, DBS made arrangements to deploy additional staff at branches and its call centre. Cheques were honoured and urgent cash withdrawals up to $500 were permitted.


Yes. An islandwide ATM disruptions to DBS-POSB machines.

DBS detected the problem at 3am and many residents discovered the failure in the early morning.
Internet and mobile banking were down too.

However, services were soon restored at 10 am while other systems including credit cards, NETS, AXS, Internet and mobile banking by lunchtime.

Additional manpower was deployed to branches and call centre to assist with customer queries as 'technical difficulties' caused the breakdown.

DBS assured customers that all funds were safe, and apologised again to customers for the inconvenience caused.


The above incident had rippled the country.

Just wondering how would Singaporeans react if really the incident below reported by The Star does happen in the island.

A tidal wave?

And, it's not the first time.

Sunday July 4, 2010 - Cops Suspect Inside Job At ATM Theft Bids, 4 Arrested

KUALA LUMPUR: When the alarm failed to trigger in two recent attempts to steal from two automated teller machines (ATM), the signs pointed to an inside job. Police zeroed in on a security firm and arrested four men well-versed in the security features of such machines yesterday.
The men had tried twice over Thursday and Friday to grab money from the ATMs in Kelana Jaya and Puchong but failed.
In both cases, the alarms were not triggered, causing police to be suspicious. Selangor police chief Deputy Commis­sioner Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar said the suspects, aged between 20 and 30, were familiar with the security features of the ATMs.
“That is probably why the security alarms on the premises and within the ATMs were not triggered. The suspects have been remanded for four days pending investigations,” he told a press conference in Dataran Ampang Point yesterday.
Sources revealed that police were also looking into similar unsolved cases in the Klang Valley to see if they matched the modus operandi of the latest failed thefts.
On Thursday, thieves tried to steal money from an ATM kiosk at a petrol station in Taman Tenaga, Jalan Puchong.
However, they fled when they saw policemen patrolling the area.
On Friday, a supermarket emplo­yee discovered a break-in at about 7am at a supermarket in Kelana Jaya.
The suspects had ripped through a dry wall to gain access to the ATM at about 4am before using a blowtorch to try to get to the money but aborted their plan and fled before the supermarket opened for business.
They were able to by-pass two security systems without triggering the alarm.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Royals' Spending And Public's Money

Officials insisted that the royal household (above) were 'acutely aware of the difficult economic climate' and had taken action including freezing the number of employees. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Jul 5, 2010 - Royal Family Costs $64m

LONDON - THE royal family cost Britain's taxpayers 38.2 million pounds (S$64 million) in the last financial year, according to accounts released by Buckingham Palace on Monday.
The figure, which represents 62 pence per person, was released with Britain facing deep public spending cuts as the new coalition government led by David Cameron bids to cut the country's record budget deficit.
Officials insisted that the royal household, which includes Queen Elizabeth II and her family, were 'acutely aware of the difficult economic climate' and had taken action including freezing the number of employees.
The figure for 2009-10 represents a 7.9 per cent drop on the previous year, a fall attributed in part to royals taking fewer commercial charter flights.
But opponents of the monarchy are demonstrating outside the palace Monday to demand more clarity on how the royals spend public money.
Finance minister George Osborne announced in last month's emergency budget that the royal household would face a funding shake-up and in future undergo the same audit scrutiny as other areas of government expenditure. -- AFP.


Jun 18, 2010  - Swedes Turning Against Royals

STOCKHOLM - LESS than half of Sweden's population now supports the monarchy, and a quarter thinks it a bad thing, a poll showed on Friday amid preparations for Crown Princess Victoria's nuptials this weekend.
Since 1996, the number of Swedes who consider the monarchy a good thing has dropped from 70 per cent to 46 per cent, the FSI poll published in the Dagens Nyheter daily showed.
At the same time, the number of Swedes saying they think the monarchy is a bad thing has soared from just 10 per cent 15 years ago to 25 per cent today, according to the poll of 1,800 people aged 18 to 79 conducted in March and April.
The royal family itself has seen its support dwindle from 69 per cent in 1996 to just 40 per cent today, the same poll indicated, while the number of Swedes disliking the royals shot up from 13 per cent to 28 per cent.
'It is probable that the increased scandal coverage in magazines and tabloids has led to the increase in negative attitudes,' FSI opinion analyst Joachim Timander told Dagens Nyheter. 'That would explain why support for the royal family, that is mainly to say the family members themselves, is declining faster than support for the monarchy as an institution,' he added.
But the royal fever predicted in the run-up to the wedding has only partially happened, and the blanket coverage also appears to have fueled anti-monarchy sentiments. 'There is a risk of oversaturation of all the scandal and party reporting,' Mr Timander said. -- AFP

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Paul And Germany

"Argentina lost." My Son said as I appeared from the kitchen. 

I had told him what I had read in The Straits Times.
He just laughed it off and it proves him right. 
Anyway, just out of curiousity, I had share it  here,  just for the fun of it.
Argentina's 4-0 thrashing by Germany is nearing to almost unpredictable score. 

Human being, not being accurate.
How about animal this time around?

Paul The German Octopus is born in England but now has a home at Sea Life Aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany.
These Sea Life Aquarium people, out of curiousity, idea was sparked into their heads.
They let Paul predicts all of Germany’s matches in the 2010 World Cup.
Paul's prediction in all of Germany’s 5 games in the World Cup so far, all sooo right.

He backed the Germans for victories against Australia, Ghana, England and, Argentina.
But he favoured the Serbians over his adopted home country, another accurately predicted result.
Paul predicts the games by eating a mussel out of one of the two containers that his caretakers sent down into  his tank.
One of the container has the German flag.
The other, the flag of the opposing team and...
He cleverly eats from the winner's box - That’s how the fortune teller tells - By eating out from the lucky container.

Paul The German Octopus instantly becomes a celebrity.
It received lots of worldwide media attention.
With the correct prediction of another Germany win, people start to wonder if octopus really has the supernatural power to predict as Paul's 5 predictions are all right.

It will be even more interesting for the semi final.

Predicting Germany over Argentina. Source: Internet


Alas, like the players and all those who are part of the World Cup crowd, everybody has to go home. 
So is Paul The Octopus. 

BERLIN - AN OCTOPUS in Germany who has shot to fame by correctly predicting the outcome of the country's World Cup matches should be set free, an animal rights group said on Friday.

'Paul has forecast that Germany will beat Argentina. In order that Paul too can celebrate on Saturday, and not just football fans, PETA Germany ... is now asking for him to be set free,' PETA said in a statement.

The organisation called for the seawater soccer soothsayer, currently in Sea Life in Oberhausen, western Germany, to be released into a national park in waters off the south of France where fishing is banned.

'Paul is stuck in a small aquarium ... We think that Paul would be fine in the sea,' marine biologist Tanja Breining from PETA said. 

'Octopuses are among the most intelligent of invertebrates. They are capable of complex thought processes, have short and long-term memories, use tools, learn through observation, have different personalities and are particularly sensitive to pain,' the organisation said.

Sea Life, however, said it would be a bad idea.
'Animals born in captivity are used to being fed and have no experience finding food by themselves,' a spokeswoman told AFP.

'It is highly likely that he would die.'

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Shop Lifting

Investigations revealed that the 8 suspects are also believed to be involved in similar cases at shopping centres in other parts of Singapore, and they will be charged in Court on Thursday.

If convicted, the suspects could be jailed for up to 7 years, they could also receive a fine.


 1998 Causeway Point

It was on that Tuesday that I was in Causeway Point, while walking past John Little, I heard hurried steps, then a shout, "Stop!"

I froze, turning my head to know who the person was.
A security officer, brushed my side, walked up to 2 girls in front of me.

The 2 girls turned, had direct eye-contact with me, their faces as white as chalk.

I quickly looked away, pretending not to see that the security officer was showing them either his ID or photo snapped while the 2 girls were in action...   

Living Ever After

Source: Wikipedia

Several teams of American researchers have identified gene patterns linked with extreme old age.

They have found a pattern of genes that predicts with more accuracy than ever before who might live to be 100 or older - even if they have other genes linked with disease.
They studied more than 1,000 people who lived to be 100 or more and matched them to 1,200 other people to identify the genetic patterns more common in the 100-year-olds using an approach called a genome-wide association study.

To their surprise, the longest-lived people had many of the same genes linked with diseases as everyone else. Their old-age genes appeared to cancel out the effects of the disease genes.

"A lot of people might ask, 'Well, who would want to live to 100 because they think they have every age-related disease under the sun and are on death's doorstep, and certainly have Alzheimer's', but this isn't true," Dr Perls told reporters in a telephone briefing.

"We have noted in previous work that 90% of centenarians are disability-free at the average age of 93. We had long hypothesised that to get to 100 you have to have a relative lack of disease-associated variants. But in this case, we're finding that not to be the case."

They identified 19 patterns among about 150 genes and said these patterns predicted with 77% accuracy who would be in the extreme old-age group, as reported by Reuters.

Their findings, published in Friday's issue of the journal Science, offer the tantalising possibility of predicting who might hope for a longer life.
The researchers led by Paola Sebastiani and Dr Thomas Perls at Boston University say, their research provides the best accuracy.

They also cast doubt on the accuracy of tests being marketed now that offer to predict a person's risk of chronic diseases such as Alzheimer's.


Mr Innokenty Osadchy, a 35-year-old investment banker in Moscow is ready to pay a small fortune to freeze his brain until future technology allows him to continue his life - after being transplanted into a new body and resuscitated.

He is certain he has found a loophole out of death.

"I don't ever want to die... It wouldn't suit me," he said .

"Why do I have to die in a couple decades? I don't see any logic in this,"

"It won't be another life, it'll be the continuation of my life. "I don't ever want to die ever. Not in a year, not in a million years." Mr Osadchy told AFP.

Mr Osadchy and other clients of Russian cryonics company KrioRus believe the brain operates like a computer hard-drive and its contents can be frozen and stored for the future.


  • Danila Medvedev (L) and KrioRus customer Innokenty Osadchy (R) looks inside a low-temperature human brain storage unit just outside Moscow. (Photo courtesy: AFP)

  • Head of Russian cryonics firm KrioRus Danila Medvedev looks inside a low-temperature human storage unit just outside Moscow. (Photo courtesy: AFP)

"We know that the personality is stored in the brain. So when a person's body is old, there's no reason to keep it," said Danila Medvedev, who runs KrioRus, the first cryonics outfit outside the United States.

Ms Medvedev, a smart executive sporting a suit and an iPad said to AFP, "We tell our clients it's cheaper, safer and probably better preservation just to freeze the brain."

Head of Russian cryonics firm KrioRus Danila Medvedev looks inside a liquid nitrogen filled human storage unit just outside Moscow. (Photo courtesy: AFP)

***Should the American gene researchers work together with the Russian team, will these 'immortals' be staying in Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and beyond...?  

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Maid Story - Family Overhauling Needed